Tuesday Late Afternoon BluesPosted: September 20, 2011
Minxy’s out surfing samsara this afternoon. I’m trying to muster up some good vibes today for her as she faces all the “it’s a short life” kind’ve stuff that goes on with the early passing of a friend. As for me, I seem to be entering my blue period. Maybe it’s because I just get cannot this friggin’ gravity model specified correctly and maybe it’s just my parameters that are tangled up and BLUE. Okay, you won’t know what BLUE means for a regression estimator (Best Linear Unbiased Estimator e.g. BLUE) unless you’re as steeped in econometrics as I am but it’s a good play on words. REALLY. Chuckle sympathetically because I need it today. I wish I could like football like normal people. Instead, I follow the bloodsport of politics and its inherent nastiness these days and I have way too many degrees in the dismal science. The results are bound to get to you one way or another.
So this little piece is about the U.S. and blue to match my mood. I’m going to start out with some blue estimators of a different sort.
There was a bit of poll that showed a glimmer of true hope instead of the manufactured sort out today. Recent entrant into the Massachusetts Senate Race, Elizabeth Warren, is polling ahead of glamor boy Republican Scott Brown who replaced the late Ted Kennedy.
Elizabeth Warren has had an incredibly successful launch to her Senate campaign and actually leads Scott Brown now by a 46-44 margin, erasing what was a 15 point deficit the last time we polled the state in early June.
Warren’s gone from 38% name recognition to 62% over the last three months and she’s made a good first impression on pretty much everyone who’s developed an opinion about her during that period of time. What was a 21/17 favorability rating in June is now 40/22- in other words she’s increased the voters with a positive opinion of her by 19% while her negatives have risen only 5%.
The surprising movement toward Warren has a lot to do with her but it also has a lot to do with Scott Brown. We now find a slight plurality of voters in the state disapproving of him- 45%, compared to only 44% approving. We have seen a steady decline in Brown’s numbers over the last 9 months. In early December his approval was a +24 spread at 53/29. By June it had declined to a +12 spread at a 48/36. And now it’s continued that fall to its current place.
Meanwhile, the mixed up mess of Republican presidential candidates is shaking up to a two white man race. Gallup reports that Perry has a better chance than Romney of sealing the nomination at this point, but Romney has a better chance than Perry to beat Obama. No surprises there.
Rick Perry leads Mitt Romney by 31% to 24% in a new USA Today/Gallup poll of Republican presidential nomination preferences. The two are well ahead of the rest of the GOP field, with Ron Paul the only other candidate in double figures.
Perry seems to have momentum, but that could be slowed in the coming weeks if Republicans start to perceive that Romney is more electable in the general election. The new poll finds the slight majority of Republicans, 53%, prefer to see their party nominate the person who has the best chance of beating Obama, even if that person does not agree with them on almost all of the issues they care about. Forty-three percent would prefer a candidate who does agree with them on almost all of the issues, even if that person does not have the best chance of winning in November 2012.
Romney currently edges out President Barack Obama by 49% to 47% in national registered-voter preferences for the November election, while Perry trails Obama by 45% to 50%. However, neither Romney nor Obama is ahead by a statistically significant margin.
It’s no wonder Perry wants out of Texas. This poll should direct Perry into the Even Cowgirls get the Blues line. Texans do not like Governor Goodhair if you believe PPP’s numbers.
The poll, released Tuesday, showed Perry with a negative approval in Texas: while 45 percent of the state’s voters approve of Perry’s job performance, 48 percent of Texas voters say they don’t approve.
Obama should have The Blues over this poll from Marist. Will this lead to calls for a primary challenger on calls on him to pull an LBJ?
President Barack Obama faces a litany of bad news. The president’s job approval rating, his favorability, and his rating on the economy have hit all-time lows. To compound matters, three in four Americans still believe the nation is in a recession and the proportion who thinks the country is moving in the wrong direction is at its highest point in more than a decade.
According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, the president’s approval rating is at 39% among registered voters nationally, an all-time low for Mr. Obama. For the first time a majority — 52% — disapproves of the job he is doing in office, and 9% are unsure.
You’ve always known that Wall Street is only True Blue to profits and not the country right? Grok this headline at Politico via the WSJ. It looks like a lot of hedge funds were betting the US to lose its AAA standing with S&P. The SEC is launching insider trading probes. Can we please get some perp walks now, please?
Securities and Exchange Commission officials have sent subpoenas to financial firms in a probe of whether there was insider trading — betting on a market crash — before the United States’ long-term credit rating was cut by S&P last month, reports The Wall Street Journal.
At issue are trades that were made by hedge funds and other firms shortly before the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. debt from triple-A to double-A-plus on Aug. 5 and cited the dysfunctional political climate in Washington as one of the reasons.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 635 points, or 5.5 percent, on Aug. 8, the first day of trading after the downgrade. This was the sharpest one-day decline since the financial crisis in 2008, but it also made bets against the market very profitable.
Securities regulators are looking for firms that bet the stock market would drop — in particular, bearish trades that seem unusually large or were made by firms that typically do not make them.
An SEC spokesman declined to tell The Wall Street Journal which investment firms have received subpoenas.
My guess is it’s the usual vampire squid suspects and all the rest of the guys whose blue balls we pulled out of the bankruptcy fire with TARP and tax dollars. Bets any one?
So here’s the a nifty chart from Paul Krugman–with blue bars–that will make you scream until you’re blue in the face. Look whose been winning the class war since 1979. So the deal is not only is their share of income and assets way up, but their after tax income has gone way up too.
Changes in tax rates have strongly favored the very, very rich.
Now, they’re only a fairly small part of the huge growth in the after-tax inequality of income. But tax policy has very much leaned into that growing inequality, not against it — and anyone who says otherwise should not be trusted on this issue, or any other.
So, of course the moment we get a whiff of anything slightly Democratic coming from the President we experience blue dogs howling at the blue moon and the beltway press.
Centrist Democrats, a dwindling breed on Capitol Hill, were quickly faced with another rough choice once Obama went public with his plans: Reject their president or back what Republicans are already calling the largest tax increase in the nation’s history.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who is up for reelection in 2012, has supported raising taxes on millionaires but was still weighing whether he’d support higher taxes on those who make more than $200,000 a year, said spokesman Dan McLaughlin.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), a key moderate who’s up for reelection next year, didn’t mince words: “There’s too much discussion about raising taxes right now, not enough focus on cutting spending.”
But Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who likely will face GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg in next year’s reelection bid, hedged a bit, saying he backs provisions in Obama’s plan that call for closing tax loopholes that benefit millionaires and corporations
“This plan isn’t the one I would have written, nor is it the one that will end up passing Congress,” Tester said. “But I welcome all ideas to the table so Congress can work together to create jobs, cut debt and cut spending.”
Blue blooded villager David Brooks admits to being an Obama sap and refers to Beltway Bob as “appreciative”. I prefer the term deep-throating, but hey, there’s a glint of recognition, right? It’s a two for one villager idiot piece! Look! I’ve managed to use some blue language.
Yes, I’m a sap. I believed Obama when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country. I always believe that Obama is on the verge of breaking out of the conventional categories and embracing one of the many bipartisan reform packages that are floating around.
But remember, I’m a sap. The White House has clearly decided that in a town of intransigent Republicans and mean ideologues, it has to be mean and intransigent too. The president was stung by the liberal charge that he was outmaneuvered during the debt-ceiling fight. So the White House has moved away from the Reasonable Man approach or the centrist Clinton approach.
It has gone back, as an appreciative Ezra Klein of The Washington Post conceded, to politics as usual. The president is sounding like the Al Gore for President campaign, but without the earth tones. Tax increases for the rich! Protect entitlements! People versus the powerful! I was hoping the president would give a cynical nation something unconventional, but, as you know, I’m a sap.
Being a sap, I still believe that the president’s soul would like to do something about the country’s structural problems. I keep thinking he’s a few weeks away from proposing serious tax reform and entitlement reform. But each time he gets close, he rips the football away. He whispered about seriously reforming Medicare but then opted for changes that are worthy but small. He talks about fundamental tax reform, but I keep forgetting that he has promised never to raise taxes on people in the bottom 98 percent of the income scale.
I nearly had to stop reading the damned thing since I was about to pass out from putting my palm to my forehead just a few too many times. Yes, it’s turning black and blue. How are we supposed to get grown up discussions about policy when the two largest newspapers in the country insist posting self serving drivel on a near daily basis.
Okay, here’s my last offering which really does show the best of the Red, White and Blue. Today is the formal removal of DADT. 0penly Gay and lesbian members of our military no longer have to live double lives or be subject to dismissal.
With Tuesday’s repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, gays and lesbians are now free to serve openly in the U.S. armed services.
The U.S. military has spent months preparing for the repeal, updating regulations and training to reflect the impending change, and the Pentagon has already begun accepting applications from openly gay men and women.
It’s events like this that give you a sense that in some way, it’s still
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity
I’m going to get some iced tea and head back to my trade and foreign direct investment research. But, here’s two of my favorites: Dylan’s Tangled up and Blue done by the Indigo Girls for you on this afternoon in New Orleans under a blue sky.
and every one of them words rang true
and glowed like a burning coal
pourin off every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you
Tangled up and Blue
I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air …